U.S. policy and engagement in the Americas

Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Department of State, 02/28/2012

Remarks to the Council of the Americas and the Center for Strategic and International Affairs

Thank you Ambassador Negroponte for those kind words and to the Council of the Americas and the Center for Strategic and International Studies for hosting this event. I would also like to thank the Council for its continued leadership on hemispheric issues and for bringing together individuals from all sectors to ensure our engagement and dialogue on the Americas is constantly evolving. We look forward to being part of the 42nd Washington Conference at the State Department in May. I would also like to congratulate CSIS on celebrating 50 years this year of helping to find solutions to today’s foreign policy challenges. Just less than one year ago, CSIS graciously provided an opportunity for Secretary Clinton to share her views on the hemisphere prior to the President’s trip to the region.

I appreciate the invitation and welcome the opportunity to share some impressions from my trip to Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil earlier this month. These countries are key regional and global players, and genuine partners, and we work closely with them in virtually every area of policy. Given the wealth of experience represented here today, I hope to get your views as well, as we prepare for the President’s participation in the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in April.

When we talk about U.S. policy and engagement in the Americas, it is critical that we think in strategic terms, of where we need to be in ten or twenty years. Our policies in the region are building on a huge, historically significant opportunity: to make the western hemisphere a strong platform for shared economic growth and security—regionally and globally—that will advance our peoples’ interests for generations. This is no small vision. It is shaping and reordering our diplomacy and statecraft all over the hemisphere.

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U.S. ambassador to Brazil called back to oversee the Foreign Service

Josh Rogin – Foreign Policy, 08/15/2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is temporarily bringing back U.S. ambassador to Brazil Tom Shannon to serve as acting undersecretary of state for political affairs while the State Department awaits the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominee for the post, Wendy Sherman.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed to The Cable that Shannon will begin work next week as the temporary successor to Bill Burns, who was promoted to replace Jim Steinberg as deputy secretary of state. Shannon, a well-respected career member of the Foreign Service, served as assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs from 2005 to 2009 and was the National Security Council senior director for the same region from 2003 to 2005.

Shannon will lead an office that has oversight of the State Department’s regional bureaus and has responsibility for the day-to-day management of regional and bilateral issues. In a way, Shannon’s return to Foggy Bottom temporarily solves two problems for Clinton, as he also will be able to keep an eye on the western hemisphere bureau, which remains leaderless since the May departure of Arturo Valenzuela.

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